Definitions

guajillo chile

Iguana meat

Iguana until recently has been an important meat in the culinary traditions of the Mexican states of Jalisco, Michoacán and Colima. There has been a marked preference for the Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) over the Black Iguana (Ctenosaura pectinata) in the region though both are eaten.

In Fray Sahagún's history of colonial Mexico he mentions the Iguana as a traditional food throughout Western Mexico, and describes it as good to eat when properly prepared.

Proper preparation of the Iguana requires parboiling it in saltwater for 20-30 minutes before roasting or stewing it.

Common recipes for the Iguana include stews (guisado), pozole, birria, roasted in tacos and flautas, roasted and finished with mole, and even sauteed with almonds.

The native Mexican Green Iguana is becoming scarce because of habitat loss.

Examples of Traditional Recipes

Iguana Pozole

  • two medium iguanas
  • five cups of freshly bleached hominy
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1 slice of cabbage - diced
  • bay leaf
  • mexican oregano
  • salt and pepper

Butcher skin and cut the iguana in pieces. Wash, salt and blanch for 15-20 minutes.

Simmer the corn, garlic, onion, a bay leaf, and salt to taste. At 10 minutes add the meat. Cook for another 15-20 minutes. Serve with sliced cabbage some of the onion slice, cilantro, oregano and pepper to taste.

Iguana roasted with birria marinade

  • one medium iguana
  • 8 guajillo chile
  • 2 pasilla chile
  • 4 cloves garlic

oregano vinegar, salt pepper to taste

Butcher, skin and cut the iguana into pieces. Wash, salt and blanch for 15-20 minutes.

Toast and soak the peppers. Blend the soaked chile with vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Marinate the iguana meat in the mixture for at least two hours. Roast the iguana at high heat (450 deg F) until tender.

References

Martinez Campos, Gabriel - Recetario Colimense de la iguana - Mexico (2004) Conaculta

Sahagún, Br. Bernadino de - Historia General de las cosas de la Nueva España - Mexico (1975) Ed Porrúa

External References

Green Iguana Society - with information on the living species and its current scarcity

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